Cholesterol is a substance that is found in the blood. Everyone has some and it is needed for good health. The problem is, people sometimes have too much cholesterol. Compared with people with normal cholesterol, people with high cholesterol have a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other health problems. The higher your cholesterol, the higher your risk of these problems.
If you get a cholesterol test, you might hear your doctor talk about:
Ask your doctor at what level you should have the different types of fat. Different people need different goals.
In general, people who do not already have heart disease should aim for:
Keep in mind that many people who cannot meet these goals still have a low risk of heart attacks and strokes.
High cholesterol, by itself, is not always a reason to worry. Having high cholesterol is just one of many things that can increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Other factors that increase your risk include:
If you are at high risk of heart attacks and strokes, having high cholesterol is a problem. On the other hand, if you are at low risk, having high cholesterol might not lead to treatment.
Not everyone who has high cholesterol needs medicines. Your doctor will decide if you need them based on your age, family history, and other health concerns.
You should probably take a cholesterol-lowering medicine called a statin if you:
Most people with any of the conditions listed above should take a statin no matter what their cholesterol level is. If your doctor or nurse puts you on a statin, stay on it. The medicine might not make you feel any different. But it can help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and death.
Yes, you can lower your cholesterol by: